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November-December 2011 ESIP Journal

Community Counts

Justin Huston

A key challenge that coastal decision-makers face is the disconnect between environmental information and socio-economic information. Most socio-economic info is collected and presented by political boundary (e.g. municipality, county, etc.) versus watershed or coastal area, and this makes it difficult to show the connection between ecosystem health and socio-economic health.

Figure #1

Along these lines, I thought the ESIP community would be interested in the Government of Nova Scotia’s recent success in making socio-economic data available by watershed. Through the NS Community Counts website (, the public can now find and download census data and other socio-economic data for the 46 primary watersheds across the entire province. Efforts are currently underway to add the secondary watershed level.

Figure #2

I encourage you to visit the site and take 10 minutes to explore the site. Pretty quickly you’ll realize the power of this approach. There are a variety of ways that you can look at socio-economic information by watershed, including the Map Centre (figure 1), Watershed Profiles (figure 2), and watershed comparisons (figure 3). As well the actual data is easily accessible and downloadable for those that want more detail or to play with the data.

Figure #3

Community Counts is a program located within the Economics and Statistics division of the Nova Scotia Department of Finance, established to develop a statistical infrastructure system of information about Nova Scotian communities. For more information contact Malcolm Shookner, Director of Community Counts, at

Other News in the Gulf of Maine & Bay of Fundy

Past Journals

Febuary 2015ESIP releases new smartphone app connecting people in the Gulf of Maine and watershed to the science happening all around them.

November 2015The launch of a marine debris program in the Bay of Fundy.

September 2015Climate Change Products for Atlantic Canada.

July 2015An update from the April 2015 State of the Bays Symposium in Massachusetts.

June 2015Learn about NH Department of Environmental Services' work with 65 volunteers to improve beach grass coverage at Hampton Beach State Park.

May 2015Nova Scotia recently released risk ratings for storm serge and sea level rise for all portions of the Province - this journal summarizes the findings

April 2015Learn about an exciting project between ESIP and EPA that seeks to unravel upstream pressures on downstream estuaries

February 2015Meet the new Project Leader for the Gulf of Maine Coastal Program in Falmouth, Maine - Jed Wright.

January 2015New Smart Tour of Great Marsh - largest continuous stretch of salt marsh in New England, extending from Cape Ann in Massachusetts to New Hampshire

December 2014The American Lobster Settlement Index is an important project that assesses current lobster fishery condition in both Canada and the US. The dataset is current and available through the ESIP Indicator Reporting Tool

Click here for all past ESIP journals